Your IBS is treatable.
And so is your low energy, your brain fog, your terrible sleep, and more…
What is gut health?
Gut health refers to the optimal breakdown of your food to obtain all of the beneficial nutrients (vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fats, etc) you need, plus boosting your body’s ability to get rid of the stuff it doesn’t want (environmental toxins, excess hormones, harsh chemicals, pesticides).
Improving your gut health means (finally) eliminating any gastrointestinal symptoms of excessive gas, bloating, burping, acid reflux, diarrhea, or constipation. Yay!
Gut health starts at your mouth and extends down through your stomach, small intestine, large intestine, and rectum. It also involves your pancreas, liver, and gallbladder to provide things like digestive enzymes, insulin, and bile.
Treatment for digestive health is holistic (stress, sleep, hormones, etc.) and may involve lab tests and lifestyle changes.
What is SIBO (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth)?
Small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is making huge waves in gastroenterology diagnosis and treatment of IBS. It’s just what it sounds like: an overgrowth of bacteria in your small intestine. (The “good bacteria” you hear so much about is only supposed to live in your large intestine.)
SIBO can cause a variety of symptoms historically labeled as IBS, including diarrhea, chronic constipation, alternating diarrhea and constipation, bloating, gas, burping, GERD, and nausea. Many people with SIBO also complain of mental & emotional symptoms like brain fog, fatigue, and anxiety.
The hallmark symptom of SIBO is someone who wakes feeling great, but their symptoms show up after eating. Garlic and onions are especially high-trigger foods.
To diagnose SIBO, you need to complete a glucose or lactulose breath test. We usually use the lactulose breath test from Trio Smart or Commonwealth labs, which we can order for you if need be. It’s a take-at-home test and results get back to you as quickly as 10 business days.
What are the herbal and conventional treatments for SIBO?
Treatments for SIBO can include antibiotics like Rifaximin or Xifaxan, herbs like neem, berberine, and allicin, or an elemental diet. Every person we work with that has SIBO is given a full outline of treatment options and we decide together where to start. It’s important to have a partner in this process, as the treatment protocols for SIBO can be a little overwhelming at first.
SIBO can sometimes require 2-4 rounds of treatment, and finding the root cause is one of the most important questions to answer when someone requires numerous rounds of treatment. When someone requires numerous rounds of treatment we often work them up for excess mycotoxins or mold in their body/environment.
What are the symptoms of leaky gut & how do you fix it?
“Growing evidence shows that the gut microbiota is important in supporting the epithelial barrier and therefore plays a key role in the regulation of environmental factors that enter the body. Modulating the gut microbiota can serve as a potential method for regulating intestinal permeability and may help to alter the course of autoimmune diseases”
Mu Q, Kirby J, Reilly CM, Luo XM. Leaky Gut As a Danger Signal for Autoimmune Diseases. Front Immunol. 2017 May 23;8:598. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2017.00598. PMID: 28588585; PMCID: PMC5440529
- Digestive symptoms – bloating, gas, indigestion, nausea
- Food sensitivities
- Aches and pains, muscle or joint pain
- Skin issues like eczema, acne, or other rashes
- Elimination problems – constipation, loose stools, diarrhea
- Weight gain, difficulty losing weight, and difficulty gaining weight.
To treat leaky gut, we use the “5 R” protocol: Restore, remove, replace, reinoculate, and repair.
How will we know what’s going on with your gut health?
Our gut ecosystem includes over 100 trillion microorganisms from >1000 species (90% bacterial) and over 60% of our immune system is located in our gut. So assessing your gut health through functional stools labs provides crucial insight into your metabolism, immune system function, ability to synthesize essential nutrients, inflammation levels, and your ability to detox.
Functional stool tests, like those provided by GI Map, Doctor’s Data microbiology and comprehensive stool analysis, and Genova stool labs offer us PCR and culture testing options that allow us to see the good (beneficial) and bad (pathogenic) bacteria, yeast, and parasites that may be making up the ecosystem of your gut health.
During our initial visit, we’ll cover absolutely every aspect of your health. Based on your history and whatever comes up during that conversation, we’ll determine which tests you need to take.
This is about putting you back in charge of your health, giving you the tools to take control, and giving you the knowledge and power to know what helps you feel like the best version of yourself.
We are here to help guide you. We promise to listen, come up with a comprehensive treatment plan, and to give you one of the best experiences you have ever had at a doctor’s office.
Have more questions?
Dr. Sara Norris is a Naturopathic Doctor serving California & Wisconsin residents (see our FAQs page for a list of all states we can see patients in) specializing in women’s health, hormones, skin, digestive health, and pediatrics. Dr. Norris offers in person visits at her Wisconsin based practice, and telemedicine for residents of other states.